The Jackery batteries are lightweight lithium batteries that can be used for camping, outdoor activities, and... astrophotography!
Jackery batteries are user-friendly, and simple to use. They have multiple ports for most types of cables, an LCD display, and even a built-in flashlight! They're also eco--friendly as they can be completely recharged using solar panels, which we'll go over later in this post!
Table of Contents:
Why did we get this battery?
What's in the box?
The Solar Panels
Specs & Price
Pros & Cons
Why did we get the Jackery battery?
We've started our astrophotography journey with an $80 jump starter we bought from Walmart. It worked fine for a few months.. until it decided to just die without any indication. Not cool when you just spent an hour driving to a dark location, and an hour setting up your equipment... 🤦🏼♂️
We then had no choice but to upgrade to a more reliable source of power. We spent several hours on astronomy forums to learn what would be the best option to power astrophotography equipment on the field. Back then, 99.99% of people suggested a marine battery (or "deep cycle" battery). These are often used to power boats, and have an excellent life expectancy as long as they are well taken care of. Sounds great, right? Well, it has some downsides:
Deep cycle batteries are very, very, VERY heavy (our 100ah battery weighs 65 pounds!) and they will hurt your back over time, no matter how fit you are. Imagine having to carry a 65-lbs brick to your car every time you want to image... especially if the parking lot is as far from your apartment as it used to be in our case.
Deep cycle batteries are not user-friendly. There are no ports for cables, no buttons, and no screen display... People with knowledge of electricity can easily build a box around the battery itself with ports and everything you need to transform this brick into a user-friendly battery, but let's face it, not everybody can do this.
Deep cycle batteries are ugly. Sorry, I'm so sick of these batteries that I had to find a third downside. Jokes aside, it doesn't matter how they look. My back and I just hate them now.
Back to the question, why did we get a Jackery battery?
You probably already guessed from the previous paragraph, we decided to get a Jackery battery because of the weight!
Dalia was never able to even lift our 100ah battery off the ground, and I always hated carrying it to the car before heading out to image. Yes, you can just use your legs and not your back when lifting heavy things, but the weight difference between a lithium battery and a deep-cycle battery is insane!
It is honestly scary to think about what kind of damage a heavy battery can do to your back over time without you realizing it. We know we will be in this hobby for life, and so upgrading to a lightweight battery now is much better than doing so in 20 years.
Another reason we wanted a battery like the Jackery one is because of how easy it is to plug cables in. The mount goes straight to the cigarette lighter port, the flats panel can go right in the USB port, and the PC, if low on juice, can be recharged by plugging it into the AC port.
We also love the fact that we can travel with this battery and do other things with it besides astrophotography!
We always take our Jackery battery with us when going on a camping weekend or on a road trip, and it is such a breeze to use in any situation.
What's in the box?
The battery comes in one box, with an additional box if you purchased solar panels.
In the box, you'll find:
The Jackery Battery
1 x AC charging cable
1 x Cigarette lighter charging cable
1 x Pouch
The warranty card, the manual, a cool keychain, and the usual paper stuff that nobody reads 😄
If you decided to purchase a separate solar panel, or bought the battery as a Solar Generator bundle, a second box will come to your door that contains the solar panels.
If you are interested, you can watch our unboxing video of the Jackery Explorer 500 and SolarSaga 100 below! We also review the Jackery 500 for astrophotography and compare it with our deep cycle battery.
The Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels
The solar panels (called the "Jackery SolarSaga" panels) are a fantastic addition to any Jackery battery, especially if you ever plan to do astrophotography while camping!
The Jackery Solar Panels fold up in half and have a hole on each extremity that serves as a handle when the panel is folded down. They are very easy to carry and are also lightweight (10 pounds, less than 5 kilograms)!
Not only are these solar panels designed to recharge your Jackery battery, they also contain two additional ports, one USB-A and one USB-C so that you can directly recharge your phone or tablet using the power of the sun! 🌞
The peak power for each SolarSaga 100 solar panel is 100W.
If you often go camping and want to charge your battery as fast as possible during the day. it is a great idea to get two or even three solar panels! Jackery provides a power splitter adapter that allows you to connect several panels to the same battery, multiplying the recharge input and thus charging the battery twice or thrice as fast!
Specs & Price
Below are the main specifications for both the Jackery Explorer 500 and the Jackery Explorer 1000, which are the two batteries we recommend for astrophotography.
Explorer 500 | Explorer 1000
Wattage Output: 500 | 1000
Wh: 518Wh | 1002Wh
Ah: 24Ah | 46.4Ah
Pure Sin Wave AC Outlets: 1 | 3
USB-A Ports: 3 | 2
USB-C Outlets: 0 | 2
12V Cigarette Lighter Ports: 1 | 1
12V DC ports: 2 | 0
Weight: 13.32 lbs (6.04 kg) | 22.04 lbs (10 kg)
Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 in | 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in